Stepfanie Romine for The Beachbody Blog shares 40 inspirational yoga quotes from yoga professionals. Try incorporating these into your meditations and yoga practice.
40 Yoga Quotes to Inspire Your Practice
As both a yoga instructor and a writer, I love to share yoga quotes with my students. I find that inspirational yoga quotes can sometimes be just what you need to find a deeper connection to your practice or provide a link between what’s happening on your mat to what’s going on in your life.
Quotes about yoga can serve as an introduction to using mantras in your practice, or help you stay inspired and motivated, whether you’re new to yoga or you’ve been doing downward dogs for decades. Yoga is a mind-body practice — no matter which type of yoga you do — and it’s helpful to give your mind something to focus on as you move on your mat.
Sharing with Students
The kinds of quotes I share with my students vary from class to class. Sometimes I share funny yoga quotes to lighten the mood during a challenging flow, and sometimes I share more profound quotes on balance and how to make the most out of the practice. I frequently read from the classic Yoga Sutras, and other times I select a more modern source. When my students are in restorative yoga poses that are held for 5 minutes or longer, I like to read passages from whatever inspirational book I’m reading at the time (Brené Brown and Jen Sincero are always well-received).
Here are 40 of our favorite yoga quotes to motivate and inspire you, whatever your mood may be. Pick some favorites and think of them the next time you go to a yoga class, whether that’s at a studio or at home.
40 of the Best Inspirational Yoga Quotes
1. “Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame.” — B.K.S. Iyengar
2. “Yoga is the ultimate practice. It simultaneously stimulates our inner light and quiets our overactive minds. It is both energy and rest. Yin and Yang. We feel the burn and find our bliss.” — Beachbody Yoga Expert Elise Joan
3. “Move your joints every day. You have to find your own tricks. Bury your mind deep in your heart, and watch the body move by itself.” — Sri Dharma Mittra
4. “The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body.” — Jason Crandell
5. “True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; it is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; it cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.” — Aadil Palkhivala, Fire of Love
6. “I had discovered something; there was a pleasure in becoming something new. You could will yourself into a fresh shape. Now all I had to do was figure out how to do it out there, in my life.” — Claire Dederer, Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses
7. “Yoga is not a work-out; it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice, to make us teachable, to open up our hearts, and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” — Rolf Gates
8. “Change only happens in the present moment. The past is already done. The future is just energy and intention.” — Kino MacGregor
9. “I think it’s interesting that the opposite of being active in yoga is not being passive. It’s being receptive.” — Cyndi Lee
10. “Learning to be present with yourself and to abide in that which is steady and comfortable does not allow space for self-judgment. When you live this way, you are practicing yoga: you are living fully.” — Judith Hanson Lasater, Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life
11. “Yoga begins with listening. When we listen, we are giving space to what is.” — Richard Freeman
12. “If we practice yoga long enough, the practice changes to suit our needs. It’s important to acknowledge that the practice isn’t meant to be one practice for everybody. The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are so many different approaches. As we go through our life cycles, hopefully we are able to find a practice that suits us. And if you practice yoga long enough, that will change many times. What exactly that looks like is going to be different for each person.” — Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine
Want to read all 40 quotes? Click here to view the rest of this article!
Yogapedia asks people where they meditate. Read about places real people have meditated, from the crazy to the mundane. Get some inspiration for where to meditate in your practice.
People Tell Us the Unique, Interesting and Mundane Places They’ve Meditated
Takeaway: Unique doesn’t always have to be outlandish, meditation can happen anywhere if you allow yourself to focus.
Every day we find ourselves in different environments. Some of these environments are unique, some are ordinary. We could be on vacation, at home, at the office, commuting through the city…all of these present moments of peace, distractions, stress, fun, fear and so much more. These special moments present an opportunity to focus on all kinds of different sounds, images or feelings, but it’s completely up to you to allow yourself to concentrate and focus your mind.
From the subway to the dentist to the top of a cruise ship, there’s always a place to meditate and escape into an inner state of awareness and quiet our minds. As you may know, a common goal many yogis share is to meditate often and intensify personal and spiritual growth.
We figured with all that meditating, people must be tuning in at some pretty unique and interesting places! So, we asked yogis, meditation experts, and experienced adventurers to share their unique and inspiring experiences about where they’ve meditated.
Here’s what they said.
At a Funeral
Whether it’s in my backyard garden at sunrise, walking through a busy parking lot to work, or sitting in my car waiting to pick up my kids from school—even the most seemingly mundane moments can reveal something sacred. It continually amazes me how often exactly where I am seems like it has the energetic qualities I need to experience at that time.
For me, the most insightful teaching of this came in the moments after my father’s funeral last year. Sitting quietly, smelling the wafts of fire and incense from the Hindu rituals; seeing my father’s body dressed and adorned for cremation; tasting my tears; hearing family members crying as grandchildren innocently played; feeling into the heaviness in my body as well as the simultaneous sadness and outpouring of love from our entire community—it transformed my grief in a way I couldn’t have imagined that day.
One of the most unique places that I have meditated is on the subway. I put headphones in with some relaxing music and I close my eyes and repeat a mantra to myself. It leaves me feeling refreshed, and with a sense of peace and calm.
I have also meditated at the Temple of the Divine Mother in the Himalayas after hiking for eight hours. It’s a beautiful overlook that always makes me cry with the emotions of looking over the Himalayas. It’s a place that truly makes me feel at home.
The most interesting place I’ve meditated was on top of an open air deck on a moving Viking River Cruise Ship at sunrise. The river cruise experience is amazing, but being around so many people, like staff and other guests 24/7, can be a lot at times, so it was so nice just to have the morning to myself. To be still and meditating on a moving vessel was a unique experience, but ever so soothing with the soft splash of the water to the sides, and beautiful charming towns and natural open land on either side of the river bank.
While I’ve meditated in hotel rooms, on airplanes, at churches, in the woods and at Machu Picchu, the most inspiring place I’ve meditated is at an estuary in Mexico near where I offer a yoga retreat in the winter. During the rainy season, the river overflows, connecting with the ocean. But when I’m there, there’s a sandy stretch of beach with flowing water anchored from behind by the Sierra Madre Mountains. Getting to this spot is part of the meditation. Every mediation there feels like an opportunity to watch the miracle of life.
The most interesting place was on a street full of bars during a weekend night. I saw it as the perfect meditation training field. I sat down and meditated for over 20 minutes with drunk people passing by; many came and asked me if I was OK!
One unusual place is while waiting at the dentist’s office. I find it’s an interesting practice of watching my thoughts (“What will people think of me if they see me sitting here with my eyes closed?”). It gives me the opportunity to let go of my concerns about what other people think and to simply be present. I even try to meditate while having my teeth cleaned, although it’s a challenge! I focus on the sounds and sensations and attempt to be fully in the moment with them. Both situations help me to move past my thoughts and find inner peace.
-Connie Habash, licensed marriage and family therapist, yoga teacher, interfaith minister of Awakening Self
While Waiting in Line
I will often rely on deep breathing and meditation when I’m in situations that are slightly uncomfortable in some way. For example, one day I was waiting in a very long line at a local deli. I had just taught a yoga class and I was waiting to place my lunch order. This deli usually is a loud place, but that day the decibel level seemed extra high—especially since I had just been surrounded by the peaceful environment of the yoga school. As a result I could feel my body tensing up in response to the noisy chaos.
I did what I teach my students to do: I began meditating on slow deep breathing. As I relaxed with body awareness, the jumble of sounds coalesced and became a bubbling brook in my imagination. The noise had transformed into a pleasant focus and I enjoyed meditating with it as I waited to place my order.
I love meditating in unique places and out of the ordinary places as it truly deepens the practice. External stimuli is inevitable in life, so incorporating this into your mindfulness practice helps generate more acceptance, calm and awareness of your surroundings.
When I am traveling, I love to meditate on the plane and even try doing it on liftoff. When we are out of our ordinary routine, we tend to be less aware of what’s going on around us. So, feeling the ground below my feet shake, feeling my body vibrate during takeoff and hearing the engines roar, helps to be present and to appreciate what it takes to fly. We may have just dealt with customs, or had to wake up earlier than normal; we may be traveling for work, or worrying about what we forgot for vacation. During liftoff, people are usually too in their own heads to be present to this truly amazing invention and our ability to fly wherever we want.
While Experiencing the Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park
The most unique place I’ve meditated is Bryce Canyon National Park—the canyon of thousands of colors. The positive healing energy of the place is literally off the charts.
I started one morning at the top of the canyon. As I kept walking down, it started to rain heavily. I kept walking, wet to the bones. It suddenly became dry and very hot. Then windy and chilly. The canyon was playing with me, testing my determination and perseverance.
I sat down on a rock bench, closed my eyes and began meditating. I tuned in to the whisper of the rocks, of the rock beings. Legends say the stones are alive and are able to read the thoughts of all people walking next to them. I imagine them to say, ‘Look, here comes a gloomy person. We are trying to cheer him up, to transfer our positive energy to him, but his head is so filled with his gloomy thoughts that he is not able to hear us.
A Rare Person is Listening
You can hear us because you are listening to us. A rare person is listening to us. Yet we are missing the communication with people. Come here often, listen to us, ask us about anything you wish. And tell us what you’ve seen that is beautiful in your life of the movement. You don’t even have to say a word. Simply imagine beautiful places in nature. The more beautiful your thoughts are, the happier we will become in our soul. Come here often and we’ll share our strong, powerful energy with you. We’ll share our secrets.
Afterwards, I took a hike on one of Bryce’s trails. I looked around paying attention to the unusual shapes of the rocks. I saw people and animals; giants and dwarfs; praying nuns and queens; castles and houses; mushrooms and candles. Suddenly, I saw the rocks that looked like the Tower Bridge in London. I could not believe my eyes. I was in a playground and enjoying the way the universe was playing with me. How did those stones experience me and my energy? I walked barefoot to feel the soul of the place. I slowed down to have conversations with everything that was around me. After the trip I realized that the whole world around me is alive.
The most interesting and UNinspiring place I’ve ever meditated in was in a tiny little hotel bathroom in New York City while traveling with family. I was in the middle of a 40-day Kundalini yoga meditation that included chanting. I had to remove myself from my room so as to not wake up the rest of my family. With a towel and pillow on the floor of this tiny bathroom, I turned the lights out, closed my eyes and went within. While it wasn’t the most inspiring location to meditate, it did help me realize it doesn’t really matter where we are while meditating. We can always meditate anywhere. NO EXCUSES. All that counts is going within, tuning into our breath and letting go of outside conditions, situations and limitations.
You may have heard of rectus abdominis diastasis. It is also known as “abdominal separation” or “a false hernia”. It’s often caused by increased abdominal pressure and is common during and after pregnancy. Although, it can also occur in those who have not been pregnant. In fact, in one study, diastasis was found to occur in 66 percent of pregnant women in their third trimester and 36 percent of women who were at five to seven weeks postpartum. 1
Diastasis is recognized by a wide and deep “valley” between the abdominal muscles when they’re at rest or by a bulge running from the sternum to the belly button when one is doing core work. Some describe its appearance as similar to a “shark’s fin,” and you’ll surely know it if you have it. The consequences of this are often not severe but can include abdominal weakness and instability, pelvic floor pain, and incontinence, symptoms which are much more common than people realize. 2-2b
Diastasis can spontaneously self-correct after childbirth. But if it persists at eight weeks postpartum it’s unlikely to resolve on its own, and that means it’s time to get to work! 3
Thoughtful core awareness during and after pregnancy, especially in yoga poses that target the transversus abdominis and obliques, may increase the chances of resolving the condition.
A Quick Anatomy Lesson
The rectus abdominis, also known as the “six-pack,” is a paired muscle that runs from the ribs near your sternum down to your pubic bone. Diastasis occurs when the midline connection between the rectus muscles, called the linea alba, is stretched over time and the distance between the muscles increases.4 A space greater than about two and a half centimeters is typically considered diastasis. (In my experience, the wider the diastasis, the more likely it is to cause problems.)
The main action of the rectus muscles is to flex the lumbar spine and shorten the distance between your ribs and pubic bone (as in a “crunch”). The connection between the rectus abdominis and pelvic floor is much debated and poorly understood. Many believe that the rectus muscles also contribute to pelvic floor stability and function. One study showed a correlation between diastasis, a weaker pelvic floor, and higher rates of incontinence and pelvic pain. 2b
How Yoga Can Help
Knowledge of the muscles that make up your core and targeting them in your asana practice can help correct rectus diastasis. The rectus abdominis, the transversus abdominis (TVA), and the obliques are the three main groups of abdominal muscles. In addressing diastasis, the TVA and the obliques are the muscles you want to focus on strengthening.
The TVA is the “corset” or “girdle” muscle of the abdomen. The deepest abdominal muscle, it wraps around your core horizontally starting at your spine and meeting in your abdominal midline. Anytime you scoop your belly or cinch in your waist, you are turning on your TVA. There are two layers of oblique muscles that overlie the TVA. The obliques are diagonally oriented sheets of muscles. When contracted, they allow for a twisting motion of the core. Strengthening these muscles can provide more balanced core contraction. This helps by taking the strain off the rectus and allowing the diastasis to narrow. (The “shark’s fin” appearance of diastasis will be more visible when the rectus is contracted in isolation because of the additional strain on the linea alba.)
“In addressing diastasis, the TVA and the obliques are the muscles you want to focus on strengthening.”
Extended bird dog (extending the opposite arm and leg from hands and knees), kumbhakasana (plank), and vasisthasana (side plank) are great postures in which to practice engaging your TVA. Because the TVA helps with stability and posture, it is always gently active. Do not merely maintaining this typically mild engagement. While practicing these postures, focus on creating a strong, conscious engagement of the TVA. This can be done by scooping the belly or cinching the waist. Any revolved variation of crescent lunge is great for engaging your obliques. Avoid sinking into deep twisting poses. Instead, think about cinching the waist and lengthening through your sides, which activates both the TVA and obliques simultaneously.
What to Avoid
Be careful with rectus-focused exercises like crunches. When you activate your rectus muscles in isolation, there is a natural tendency for them to pull apart. This increases the strain on the linea alba—which is likely to cause a widening of diastasis and prolong your recovery time. Additionally, you’ll also want to avoid postures that overly stretch your belly, such as wheel, dancer, and even anjaneyasana (low lunge), unless you can really activate and stabilize your core in these poses. If you do have diastasis and notice a bulge in certain postures, you’ll want to modify those postures. The bulge is usually more apparent when you are activating your rectus muscles without the support of your TVA and obliques. You may need to back off the intensity of some core poses as you learn how to support your rectus abdominis by using the TVA and obliques.
By focusing on core stability, over weeks or months you may begin to notice gradual changes. With dedication and diligence, the gap between your rectus muscles may start to close. In extreme cases when the gap either does not close or causes abdominal or pelvic instability or dysfunction, surgery may be necessary. The need for surgery, however, is rare.
Adjustments and advice from a yoga teacher familiar with anatomy can ensure that you’re on the right track. And as always, if you experience pain in certain postures, or have pelvic floor instability or incontinence related to diastasis, consult a medical professional.
Meanwhile, cultivate patience, be mindful about the muscles you’re using, and have fun on your journey of exploring your abdominal wall anatomy!
Sara Lindberg for Healthy Way discusses the benefits of couples yoga. Try these poses to strengthen your bodies and your relationship.
How Couples Yoga Can Strengthen Your Mind, Body, And Relationship
If you think finding a deeper connection with your partner, decreasing stress, enhancing your sexual relationship, and getting fit all at the same time sounds like a sweet deal, you might want to consider rolling out a yoga mat (or two).
Couples yoga is changing the way we look at the the role of exercise in relationships.
What are the benefits of couples yoga?
The benefits of couples yoga are similar to an individual yoga class and include stress reduction, increased range of motion, relief from pain, cardio and circulatory health, improved respiration and energy, better posture, and much more. Couples yoga takes these benefits one step further and also includes the element of bonding with your partner in a new way.
By creating a shared experience, the poses in couples yoga allow you and your partner to listen to each other and work together. “Couples yoga helps bring couples closer physically, emotionally, and energetically,” explains Beth Shaw, founder and CEO of YogaFit.
The benefits, Shaw says, include physical bonding, unifying goals of getting in the pose, teamwork building, and improved communication. “Couples yoga also gives couples an activity to do together that they can both improve with as time goes on,” she adds.
Psychotherapist and certified yoga practitioner Stefani Reitter says couples yoga can be a lifesaver for relationships in a rut. “Yoga can actually shift relational dynamics by decreasing the ‘fight or flight’ tendency that couples get stuck in while arguing,” she explains. “I have specific partner yoga poses that I have clients do in session and then assign for homework, so they have something to integrate into their daily routine.”
How do you get your partner involved if they’re new to yoga?
If you’re ready to sign-up for a couples yoga class, but your partner is still undecided, Topnotch Resort’s yoga instructor and art therapist Melisa Oliva recommends a one-class pass or an introductory workshop, so your partner feels invited to explore without the pressure to commit for an unlimited period of time.
Once you both commit to the idea of doing couples yoga, make sure you choose a class and instructor that works for both of you. Try to find a class that is beginner friendly so the poses won’t seem intimidating.
Are there therapeutic benefits of doing couples yoga?
Every relationship goes through its own challenges, with some more difficult than others. Finding healthy and productive ways to work through conflict or any other issues that relationships go through can help enhance and strengthen your partnership.
One of the appeals of couples yoga is the therapeutic benefits partners can experience while moving through the poses together. In fact, a study done by Loyola University Health System found that partner yoga may help couples who are struggling with sexual dysfunction by strengthening their relationship emotionally, physically, and spiritually to ultimately build a deeper connection and improve sexual health according to one of the researchers and professors.
“Even just reflecting about their shared feelings after a couples yoga class can be very beneficial, and it can even bring back a ‘lost spark’ that couples are always trying to keep alive,” explains Oliva, “giving them the opportunity to touch each other, to breathe together, and to remember the deep connection between them.”
Couples Yoga Poses to Try Together
Participating in a couples yoga class can help you build the foundation of the poses and learn from the cues of the instructor. Once you feel confident that you can do the poses on your own, try this couples yoga workout designed by Diane Malaspina, PhD, Yoga Medicine instructor, and psychologist.
Start seated in a cross-legged position with your backs leaning into each other. Rest your hands on your thighs, close your eyes, and follow your breath. Be aware of your inhales and exhales, then shift your attention to your partner’s inhales and exhales. Try to sync the breath by feeling the subtle expansion and contraction of your partner’s rib cage. Practice for 3 minutes.
Seated Easy Twist
Start seated in a cross-legged position, facing one another with your knees touching. For both partners: Reach your right hand behind you, across your back, to reach the right fingers toward the left side of your waist. Reach your left hand across and grab your partner’s right hand. Communicate with each other as to how much you’d like your partner to gently pull on your right hand to deepen the twist. Hold for 10 breaths and switch sides.
Seated Wide Leg Forward Fold
Stay seated and spread your legs wide, joining the soles of your feet with your partner’s. Reach forward and grab each other’s wrists, walking your hands to reach for their forearms. Communicate to decide who will fold first. Slowly lean back, gently pulling your partner into a forward fold. Communicate how deep you’d like to fold. Hold for 10 breaths and switch.
Seated Easy Forward Fold
For this pose, one partner is in a seated forward fold and the other is in a supported backbend. Start seated in a cross-legged position with your backs leaning up against one another. Communicate to decide who will fold forward first. For the partner folding: Walk your hands forward coming into a fold. For the other partner: Lean back, keeping your bodies in contact and your hands on the floor alongside of you, palms turned up. Allow your head to rest on the rounding of your partner’s upper back. Relax and take 10 slow breaths, then switch.
Standing Forward Fold
Stand with the back of your hips leaning into each other. Bend your knees and fold forward. Once you’ve folded, reach back and grab each others’ hands, walking your hands toward their forearms, gently drawing your partner closer. Communicate on how deep you want to go into the pose. Knees can be bent or straightened. Hold for 10 breaths.
Stand next to each other. The partner on the right will balance on the left foot, and the partner on the left will balance on the right foot. Bring the the non-standing foot on to the inner shin (toes can rest on the floor or on the shin) or the inner thigh. Avoid bringing the foot to the inner knee. Open the lifted knee to the side. Partner on the right: reach your left hand out to the side to join palms with the partner on the left (who will reach the right hand out to the side to join palms). Hold for 5 to 10 breaths and switch sides.
Stand facing one another, feet pointing straight forward and hip-width apart. Clasp your partner’s forearms and walk your feet back so the arms are extended. Bend the knees and send the hips back as if you were about to sit on a chair. Use the bi-directional pull on each other’s arms to stay up. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. To release, straighten the legs and step toward your partner.
Stand facing one another, feet pointing straight forward and hip-width apart. Leave about a foot of space between your toes and your partner’s toes. Clasp around each other’s forearms with your elbows bent. Bring a slight bend to the knees. Lift from your chest, arch your upper back up, look up (but keep the neck long). The arms will straighten. Draw the shoulder blades together to open the chest. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Return to standing.
The benefits of couples yoga are endless for both you and your significant other. If you’re interested in trying couples yoga, make sure you read through the instructions detailed in the above exercises carefully, and refrain from any poses that cause unusual discomfort or pain.
Many people may seem outwardly well, but scratch the surface and there is often disharmony, sadness and self-loathing. The practice of yoga, which unites mind and body, could pave the way to a healthier, happier life.
How do you define the state of being healthy? Does it mean having smooth skin, a trim waistline and a within range BMI? Or is it better defined by a calm mind, a kind disposition and a happy attitude? Perhaps it’s one or a combination of these things. The cut-and-dried perspective of ‘do my numbers look okay at my yearly check-up?’ is one way of measuring it. Yet this doesn’t get at the emotional, sublime aspect of health: your own intuitive sense of well-being. Despite many attempts to find a litmus test for health, at least in the Western medical world, we still haven’t found one simple gold standard to measure it.
Inward and Outward Health
I’m a medical doctor who has been an emergency physician for more than 14 years. I’ve seen my fair share of both acute and chronic disease. I’ve met many people who, at first glance, might fall under the category of unhealthy. People who come to me because their kidneys are not working effectively, or they have chest pain, or they can’t breathe well. Yet, as I delve deeper into their spirit and work with them, I see a whole other face of health. Despite having renal, heart or lung disease, the person in front of me is calm and happy with a legacy of accomplishments.
On the flip side, though, every day in the store, at the post office or at the bank, I see an outwardly healthy person with no obvious medical list who is full of sadness and self-loathing. They don’t have an inner peace and become infuriated if delayed by only a few moments in a queue while an assistant counts out their change. I bring up these juxtapositions to illustrate the point that health must first and foremost come from a place of the unity of mind and body, a place of perspective.
This intuitive awareness, cultivated through yoga and other mindfulness practices, offers the ability to pause, take note and reflect on how you feel, behave and react to a situation – and how you make choices. With this groundwork in place, you can make effective choices in all aspects of life – from the foods you eat, the exercise you take, the sleep with which you restore yourself – and move towards a healthy, long and rewarding life.
The Research is In
As well as emergency medicine, I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 25 years. As a certified Yoga Medicine instructor, I focus on the fusion of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics with the traditional practice of yoga. In practicing and teaching yoga, I’ve felt the synergy of the yoking of mind and body and the deep calm and happiness that have come as a result of my dedicated practice. Many of my students have had similar experiences. Can yoga help us to be healthier? Anecdotally, I say yes but, as a scientist, I also say, ‘let’s turn to the literature…’
A 2009 study in BMC Pulmonary Medicine, by Vempati et al, looked at 57 adults with mild to moderate asthma. Twenty-nine of these participants were randomized to a yoga group and 28 to a non-yoga group. The yoga group showed statistically significant improvement in pulmonary function, a decrease in exercise-induced broncho-constriction and overall improvement in the quality of life.
A review in Preventative Medicine in December 2017, by Thind et al, analyzed a group of studies assessing the effects of yoga on lowering blood sugar in participants with Type 2 diabetes. In addition to the yoga group showing an improvement in blood sugar metrics, they also showed improvements in lipid profile, blood pressure, body mass index, waist/hip ratio, and cortisol levels.
In April 2017, in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Chu et al looked at the effect a 12-week yoga programme had on heart rate variability (HRV) – a marker of parasympathetic tone – and depressive symptoms in clinically depressed women. Thirteen women were included in the yoga group and 13 in the non-yoga group. The yoga group completed a 12-week yoga programme where they participated in twice-weekly, 60-minute yoga classes. Each session consisted of breathing exercises, a yoga pose practice, and supine meditation and relaxation.
The control group was instructed not to engage in any yoga practice and to maintain their usual level of physical activity during the course of the study. All participants’ HRV, depressive symptoms and perceived stress were assessed at baseline and post-test. As a result, authors found that the 12-week yoga programme was effective in increasing parasympathetic tone and reducing depressive symptoms and perceived stress in women with elevated depressive symptoms.
Greater Acceptance of Yoga
This small sampling of studies suggests yoga promotes good health. But in what way? The truth is that this area of research is in its infancy. The sizes of many of the studies are small, some of the methods are less than robust and because there’s so much variability of yoga styles and practice, it’s difficult to make a direct correlation between yoga and improvement in health outcomes. But there is great momentum and it’s likely that more robust studies will emerge in the near future.
Over the past 40 years, the medical community has begun to acknowledge the overall positive benefits of yoga, and mindfulness practices have also been increasingly accepted. Many researchers are interested in growing the body of knowledge that explains what it is about these practices that makes people healthier. In fact, the University of Massachusetts Medical School recently created a new division dedicated to the academic study of mindfulness. Such a designation allows for long-term, better-funded, focused research.
Back to anecdote… I’ve dealt with many things that were out of my control to fix in my years as an emergency physician. I have experienced the joy of bringing people back from the brink. Yet many times all I can say is: ‘I don’t know’. The stress, trauma, jubilation, and sadness that are all parts of my job are hard to manage for many. Especially those who have the privilege of caring for the very sick. I’ve continually turned to my practice to give me the mental flexibility I need to make quick decisions.
My practice has given me the perspective to realise that when I’m feeling tired or sad or defeated, this feeling will not be forever and I will learn and grow from the experience. In my times of complete physical and mental exhaustion, it has been my salvation – a place to find physical strength, mental balance and a state of ‘reset’. In essence, my practice has made me a better doctor and healthier person.
I’ve seen similar spaciousness grow in the hearts, minds and bodies of my students. As their practices have unfolded and they have developed a sense of peace, non-reactivity, physical strength, flexibility and mobility, many have made major life changes. They have repaired relationships. Made fulfilling career decisions. And said no to things that weren’t working in their lives. They are happier, healthier and whole. The vibe in my studio is one of inclusion where much of the goodness occurs in the lobby with students sharing, laughing, connecting. This is the essence of health.
Aaron Eisberg for Accuro discusses the trend of light therapy, how it fits into gym environments, and if it’s right for your business
Is Red Light Therapy Right for your Fitness Business
Many of today’s successful gyms are focusing on much more than workout equipment and Zumba classes. Why? Because in order to succeed in today’s competitive fitness industry, you need a differentiating factor.
One such selling point embraced by many health clubs? Near Infrared (NIR) red light therapy. Here’s a closer look at this increasingly popular practice, along with why it might be a smart fit for your fitness business.
What is NIR Red Light Therapy?
Originally used by NASA to promote wound healing, red light therapy is widely heralded for its untapped potential. The Fashion Spot on this cutting-edge technology: ”Infrared light is the invisible part of natural sunlight that feels like heat when we are exposed to it. It’s completely safe. Hospitals use it to warm newborns. And, you can be exposed to it for hours since it’s devoid of harmful UV rays. Unlike the heat you find in traditional saunas and yoga rooms, in an infrared heated room, the heat is heating your body directly and only 20 percent of the heat is heating the air, meaning you’re not just sweating from the heat, the heat is actually penetrating your skin.”
Praised by the likes of everyone from Dr. Oz to Gwyneth Paltrow, red light therapy has earned a sought-after spot among the growing list of “no-workout workouts.”
Use in the Gym
Light therapy is often thought of in a medical context and is used for non-invasively treating ailments ranging from fibromyalgia to chronic pain. But it offers benefits to health club members as well. Says a recent ClubSolutions article on the potential of red light therapy in the fitness industry, “In a health club setting, NIR red light therapy can help members reduce lactic acid in their muscles, allowing for easier workouts. Female health club members have experienced skin tightening, smoother skin, improved hair and even sun damage reversal; while male members have noticed a testosterone boost, reduced overall pain and younger looking skin.”
Other potential benefits of NIR red light therapy include evening out skin tone, the healing of acne and other blemishes, and even weight loss — all without relying on dangerous UV rays.
The best part? NIR red light therapy technology is affordable and safe. Members can even self-administer in a matter of minutes. Although, a professional practitioner should supervise the initial treatments.
Is NIR Red Light Therapy Right for Your Fitness Business?
While red light therapy was once the sole domain of dermatologist’s offices and beauty salons, more gyms are investing in red light therapy machines.
One example of a health club currently using red light therapy to attract and retain members? The nation’s fastest growing fitness center franchise: Planet Fitness. And, according to Light Therapy Device, nearly all members who tried (NIR) red light therapy reported improvements across everything from weight loss to skin enhancements.
Meanwhile, Tiffany Cruikshank, L.A.c., MAOM, RYT, founder of Yoga Medicine and author of Meditate Your Weight told The Fashion Spot of the power of infrared light therapy after a workout, “We also see an important detoxifying effect on the body and it’s used for its ability to boost the immune system…This causes the body to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss.”
An Opportunity for Profit
Members aren’t the only ones who gain benefits from adding NIR red light therapy to your gym’s offerings. In order to support best outcomes, red light therapy must be taken regularly. The result? An exciting new profit generator. You can sell sessions individually or as part of membership packages.
There’s a reason why infrared light has earned a spot on countless roundups of current fitness trends. Proposes phototherapy device designer and head of product development at Canada-based Collagentex and Tanses Technologies Inc. Kirk Kiremitci for ClubSolutions, “ The opportunities for NIR Red Light therapy are endless. If you haven’t looked into the technology and are looking for a new profit center that can help differentiate your club and benefit your members’ recovery, NIR Red Light therapy may be the perfect solution.”
Many fitness businesses are also turning to another differentiator to stand out from the crowd: Fitness monitoring technology. To learn more about what the Accurofit System can do for your health club, download the catalog today.
Yoga Medicine®’s is a trademark used to identify products and services offered, related to the study and practice of yoga. None of these products or services involve the practice of medicine or take the place of medical consultation. We urge you to consult a physician or other health care professional of your choice before undertaking any form of exercise, including yoga, to make sure that it is safe and appropriate for you.
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